Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and five university students have filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari, asking the court to “declare unlawful the refusal by the Federal Government to meet ASUU’s demands, which has occasioned the prolonged strike action and violated the students’ right to quality education.”
Joined in the suit as Defendants are the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige, and Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
The suit followed the apparent lack of commitment by the Federal Government to implement the agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and to end the over seven-month-old industrial action by the union, and the threat by the government to implement its “no work, no pay” policy.
In the suit number NICN/ABJ/269/2022 filed last week at the National Industrial Court, Abuja, SERAP and the students are seeking: “an order directing President Buhari and Mr Ngige to immediately implement all the agreements with ASUU in order to end the strike action and violation of the students’ right to quality education.”
According to SERAP and the students: “Disruption of classes undermines both the quality and duration of students’ education. This situation has aggravated existing disparities in access to university education in the country, further marginalizing economically disadvantaged parents and students.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP and the students by their lawyer Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, read in part: “The Federal Government has failed to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the right to quality education, and the right to freedom of association through the principle of collective bargaining.”
“Although Nigeria has ratified several human rights treaties, which guarantee the right to quality education of Nigerian students, the Federal Government has over the years refused to meet the demands by ASUU, and to address the poor environment in the country’s universities.”
“The students who are co-claimants in the suit are Dongo Daniel Davou; Oyebode Joshua Babafemi; Ejie Kemkanma; Peter Itohowo Aniefiok; and Imam Naziru. They are students of Plateau State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Port Harcourt, University of Uyo, and University of Ibadan, respectively.”